Ahead of its launch later this year, Land Rover has confirmed that the new Defender Commercial will revive the Hard Top name.
The Hard Top name dates back to 1950 when the introduction of demountable Hard Tops gave early Land Rovers added security and protection from the elements. Despite being a thoroughly modern vehicle, the new Defender Commercial shares the same silhouette and fixed metal roof as the original, so it’s fitting it takes on the Hard Top name.
The latest Defender, now available in passenger form, uses an aluminium-intensive D7x body architecture that Land Rover claims is three times stiffer than the best body-on-frame designs. The Hard Top commercial model shares the same chassis, which includes the capability of adding electric and hybrid drivetrains.
Defender Hard Top: Weights and Towing
While the payload rating has yet to be revealed, and images released show the load bay is able to accommodate a standard Euro-pallet.
Land Rover has confirmed that there will be a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, with a raft of technologies to help hitch, drive and reverse safely while pulling a trailer. Its Advanced Tow Assist system allows for perfect reversing manoeuvres using nothing but a rotary dial and high-resolution images and guidelines from the rear camera.
Already seen in the Range Rover Evoque, a digital rear-view mirror uses a high-mounted camera at the back of the vehicle to broadcast a rear view to the traditionally located mirror, allowing for full visibility even when the cargo bay is entirely full.
Defender Hard Top: Off-Road Ability
The conversion from passenger car to commercial 4×4 hasn’t dented the Defender’s off-road abilities. The 90 and 110 Hard Tops both feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with electronic air suspension optionally available on the 110. Both set-ups provide ground clearance of 291mm, while the 110 Hard Top will have approach, breakover and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively.
The maximum wading depth of 900mm is also supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 electronic driver aid system, which measures the water’s depth and ensures the driver doesn’t get into trouble.
Defender Hard Top: Hi-Tech Cabin
The cabin has no rear seats, of course, but an optional jump seat in the front allows the Defender to accommodate up to three people. Whilst entry models will be quote utilitarian, it’s expected that buyers will be able to specify from a range of trim options, including a full leather interior.
A large touchscreen infotainment system will be in place to provide immediate access to all the major vehicle functions, including smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Built-in mobile connectivity means the system will also support over-the-air updates, allowing the vehicle’s software to be updated and new functionality added without requiring a visit to a workshop.
The Defender Hard Top will also feature a collection of driver aids such as a 3D surround camera system that provides a moveable all-round view of the vehicle on the central touchscreen, helping drivers manoeuvre safely in tight spaces or position the vehicle close to items ready for loading.
Defender Hard Top: Price and Availability
The commercial Defender will be available in both short and long wheelbase options, badged as 90 and 110. Prices have yet to be confirmed but expect a starting figure of around £35,500 plus VAT. While deliveries of the passenger car have started, the commercial version won’t be available until later in the year.